Feb 14, 2020 08:02 UTC
  • Elderly woman dies of coronavirus in Japan

Japan's health minister says a woman in her 80s has become the first person with the new coronavirus to die in the country.

According to Press TV, Katsunobu Kato said Thursday that the deceased woman, living in Kanagawa prefecture which borders Tokyo, developed symptoms on January 22 and was hospitalized on February 1.

"This is the first death of a person who tested positive," the minister said.

"She was suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus so... testing was conducted. Her positive test result was confirmed after her death," he added.

The minister, however, cautioned that it was not clear if the virus caused her death.  

"The relationship between the new coronavirus and the death of the person is still unclear."

The minister also confirmed that a Tokyo taxi driver in his 70s had tested positive for the virus, along with a doctor in central Japan.

A third person, also a taxi driver, in Chiba just east of Tokyo has tested positive.

Japan has separately reported at least 28 cases of the virus, including among citizens it evacuated from Hubei, the Chinese province at the epicenter of the deadly outbreak.

Japan also deals with more than 200 confirmed infections from a quarantined cruise ship.

The biggest cluster of coronovirus cases identified outside China has been reported on Diamond Princess, a British cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama, where 219 of about 3,700 people on board have tested positive for the virus.

Elsewhere, the US cruise ship of MS Westerdam finally berthed in Cambodia after being denied docking rights in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Guam, and the Philippines over fears that one or some of its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew might have contracted the virus.

China’s health authorities reported on Thursday that 242 more people had lost their lives due to the deadly virus in the central province of Hubei a day earlier, raising the death toll in the epicenter of the epidemic since the beginning of the outbreak to 1,310.